April 21, 2024

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Australian leader says he demanded ‘full accountability’ for Australian’s killing in call with Benjamin Netanyahu.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has slammed Israel’s explanation for the killing of seven aid workers in Gaza as “not good enough”, as outrage over the attack continues to reverberate globally.

Australian woman Zomi Frankcom was one of seven employees of World Central Kitchen (WCK) who were killed on Monday when their convoy was struck by an Israeli air strike in central Gaza.

A US-Canadian dual citizen, a Pole, a Palestinian and three nationals of the United Kingdom were also killed in what the US-based charity described as a “targeted attack”.

Albanese, who earlier this week described Frankcom’s death as “beyond any reasonable circumstances”, on Thursday said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks that innocent people get killed in war were unacceptable.

“We need to have accountability for how it has occurred, and what is not good enough is the statements that have been made, including that this is just a product of war,” Albanese said during a news conference in Sydney.

“This is against humanitarian law – international humanitarian law makes it very clear that aid workers should be able to provide that aid and that assistance free of the threat of losing their life.”

Albanese said Frankcom’s vehicle had been clearly identified as belonging to an aid organisation and should not have been at risk.

“Her being killed in this way is a catastrophic event that is devastating for her family but is also felt keenly by our nation,” he said.

The Australian leader said he had spoken with Netanyahu the previous day to demand “full accountability” and that Israel must conduct a transparent investigation whose findings are made public “so that we find out how exactly this can occur.”

“There have been too many innocent lives lost in Gaza … It shouldn’t be the case that innocent Palestinians or people assisting them are made to pay the price for the actions of the terrorist group Hamas,” he said.

In a video message on Tuesday, Netanyahu said the killings were unintended and tragic but that “this happens in war”.

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported on Tuesday that an Israeli drone had fired three missiles at the WCK convoy out of a mistaken belief that a Hamas member was travelling with them.

The report, which cited unnamed Israeli military sources, said the drone fired on three separate vehicles in succession, despite them being clearly marked with the WCK logo and even after the aid workers informed the Israeli military that they had been attacked.

WCK CEO Jose Andres said in an interview with Reuters on Wednesday that the Israeli military had targeted his employees “systematically, car by car”.

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